An SCMP archive special: the story of dumplings is the story of the globalisation of Chinese cuisine - take the journey from Beijing to Shanghai, Hong Kong and down the ancient Silk Road to discover who invented them - and how a traditional Chinese medicine cure evolved into a meal enjoyed around the world. Interviewees: Lu Hongbin; Du Yichu restaurant, Beijing; Hu Wei-I, Wan Shou Zai restaurant, Shanghai; Wang Hong Chun, Ah Cun Shandong Dumpling, Prince Edward; Dr Dai Zhaoyu, senior lecturer,…
Published 02/04/22
Published 02/04/22
Is this poached chicken dish served with various condiments originally from Singapore or Malaysia? It's a question that stirs up quite a debate between these two countries where eating and criticising the other side’s cuisine are national pastimes. In this episode we trace the origins of Hainanese chicken rice and find out how there's a lot more that goes into making this succulent dish fragrant and flavourful than meets the eye.  
Published 02/10/21
Tempura is an ubiquitous Japanese dish, with seafood or vegetables  coated in batter and deep-fried. But did you know that tempura originated in Portugal? Bernice and Alkira trace its origins back to the 16th century when Portuguese missionaries sailed to Japan and traded guns, tobacco and flour. They taught the Japanese how to use the flour to make tempura. It has since evolved into a high culinary art form in Japan. Featuring chef Eisaku Hara of Uchitsu Tempura, chef Rodolfo Vicente of Casa…
Published 01/04/21
Before plant-based meats and oat milk there was tofu. It's a popular staple in Asian cooking that was first written about before the Sung dynasty in 960 AD. Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank look at how tofu made its way to America in three waves that started with Benjamin Franklin, Asian immigrants in the 1800s, and finally during the hippie counterculture in the late 1960s. Featuring Renee So of Kung Wo Tofu Factory, Jenny Yang of Phoenix Bean in Chicago, Bill Shurtleff, founder and president…
Published 11/06/20
Cantonese egg tarts are hard to resist with their silky egg custard filling and flaky pastry crust. Found in bakeries and eaten at the end of dim sum, the egg tart is a sentimental dessert in Hong Kong and across southern China, but its roots are not native to the region. It’s believed the British first brought custard tarts to southern China in the 1920s, where local chefs adapted the recipe before it was brought to Hong Kong. To uncover the full history of the egg tart we travel all the way…
Published 09/23/20
Xiaolongbao - or soup dumplings as they are known in the West - are delicate parcels of pork and broth that are served piping hot in a bamboo steamer. In this episode Alkira Reinfrank and Bernice Chan uncover the origins of this golf-ball sized dumpling, tracing it back to a district on the fringes of Shanghai, China. They speak to the daughter of a xiaolongbao master to find out what makes the perfect soup dumpling, and find out how Din Tai Fung began in Taiwan selling cooking oil then made…
Published 08/11/20
Jjapaguri, or ram-don, as it is known in the Academy award-winning movie Parasite, is a super easy and cheap dish that simply mixes two kinds of instant noodles together. In this episode of Eat Drink Asia, we look into the food references in the film and how a dish only known to Koreans quickly became something global audiences salivated over.
Published 06/15/20
Vicky Cheng, chef and owner of one-Michelin-starred VEA tells us how to turn a humble pack of instant noodles to a glorious okonomiyaki — a classic Japanese pancake.
Published 06/08/20
As popular and ubiquitous as curry is around the world, the word ‘curry’ doesn’t actually exist in India. Just like you’d never get fortune cookies at the end of your meal in China, you won’t find curry on a menu in India. On this episode of Eat Drink Asia, we look into butter chicken – not curry – a dish that balances the smokiness of the meat and the silkiness of the sauce like no other. We traced it back to the grandson of the inventor of this iconic dish, who told us its origin story of…
Published 05/22/20
This is a quick coconut fish stew recipe that will make you look like the chef of the house. It's shared by chef Palash Mitra, who helms the Michelin-starred restaurant New Punjab Club in Hong Kong. How to make it: Cut the fish into manageable pieces and season with salt, turmeric, crushed peppercorns, and curry leaves (optional). Heat some coconut oil and add in mustard seeds, chopped shallots, tomatoes, and a bit of ginger. Sautée till transparent and add the fish, lightly fry and…
Published 04/30/20
Listen to top chefs in Hong Kong describe how they cook their favourite comfort dishes at home. Today's recipe from chef Barry Quek only requires three ingredients: instant noodles, an onion, and a hard cheese, like cheddar or parmesan. How to make it: Slice about half an onion into thin slices then heat oil in a pot and saute the onions until they turn light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the seasoning packet from the instant noodles and stir for about a minute then add enough water to cook…
Published 04/22/20
When it comes to fried chicken, almost every country has their own take on it. The Philippines has Jollibee, South Africa has Nando’s, Japan has Karaage... but no country has made the competition more intense than South Korea. So for today's episode, we are going to take a look at two equally iconic KFCs — Kentucky fried chicken and Korean fried chicken. How are they made? How did they influence each other?  And we are looking further than that — to the Korean war, the first cookbook…
Published 12/06/19
The dish was born in a time when Vietnamese weren’t even allowed access to wheat flour, making it hard to imagine the sandwich would become world famous.
Published 10/25/19
American icon became popular during the war and managed to stick around.Your junk email is named after the canned meat, by the way.
Published 09/27/19
We tried KFC’s spicy chicken mooncakes so you don’t have to.From the end of the Yuan Dynasty to modern Hong Kong, mooncakes have been the bearers of political messages.
Published 08/30/19
Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank analyse the cultural appropriation, and fascinating history, of Sichuan cuisine. They delve into the chemistry of the Sichuan pepper and unpack the components of a traditional meal.
Published 07/26/19
It turns out that early sushi was not about rice. And it originated from the Mekong, not Japan.
Published 06/27/19
Plot twist: The rooster sauce was created by a Vietnamese refugee, but is American-made, and Thai-inspired.
Published 05/24/19
Tune in to find out the complex origin and nationalistic agenda behind the iconic Thai noodle dish.
Published 04/27/19
A journey into the history and culture of dim sum – why it’s served on trolleys, what the path to becoming a dim sum chef is like, and the painstaking work behind a simple har gau.
Published 03/30/19
Where did bubble tea begin - and why has it become so popular - are some of the questions the Eat Drink Asia podcast seeks to answer as hosts Alkira Reinfrank and Bernice Chan go in search of the chewy drink made for Instagram.
Published 02/22/19
Michelin announcement sees fine dining French restaurant Caprice get back its third star, and the British chef gives us some quick dinner solutions.
Published 12/17/18
An in-depth chat with career bartender (and 2017 American Bartender of the Year) Jeff Bell from the famous PDT bar in New York, upon opening the Hong Kong edition of PDT at the Mandarin Oriental; and Singaporean-born Swiss chef Gray Kunz, who has been cooking and operating restaurants in Hong Kong since the 1980s, talks about telling the story of Singapore and Asia through his food at Cafe Gray Deluxe in the Upper House in Hong Kong.
Published 11/15/18
Sit down with Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank for an in-depth chat with Gordon Ramsay, perhaps better known as the profane, short-tempered TV chef on reality programs like Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares. Upon the opening of his latest restaurant in Hong Kong he talks about his aborted football career, the influence of his mother upon his cooking, and his pride in guiding the careers of young chefs.  
Published 10/19/18